DARLINGTON, S.C. (WGHP) — Joey Logano prevailed at the beginning and the end of the Cup Series throwback weekend at the Darlington Raceway’s Goodyear 400, winning the pole and the race.
Throwback weekend was the headline, featuring NASCAR’s new NextGen racecars and a lot of retro paint schemes with special meanings. Familiar faces dotted the starting grid, from Richard Petty, Donnie Allison, Jeff Burton, Mark Martin, Bill Elliott and more, all getting a glimpse at race cars that look like ones they drove 20, 30 and 40 years ago.
Leading the field on the pace laps prior to the green, Hall of Fame racers Red Farmer and Leonard Wood, both in some very familiar Wood Brothers classic race cars. And there was a streetcar owned by Logano, his dad Tom at the wheel of the 1971 Mustang Mach 1. The pole-sitter Logano was able to pull up beside his dad on the track before taking the green flag.
The race had it all: green flag runs, green flag pit stops and cars that gave drivers all they could handle. Ross Chastain had the car to beat but crashed on a restart trying to hold on to the lead. Martin Truex Jr. spent some time at the front but also found out how quickly the NextGen car could get away. A handful of drivers were collected in the Truex crash, including Kurt Busch, Bubba Wallace and Denny Hamlin.
At the end, it was a battle between Logano, William Byron and Tyler Reddick.
“We had the lead coming to pit road, and…I gave it up getting off pit road. I think that was honestly the difference,” said Reddick who finished 2nd.
Reddick had been leading when the final caution came out but losing the lead had him mired in dirty air that he said made getting back through nearly impossible.
“Just this car seems like it puts off a little bit wider wake. Not as bad directly behind somebody, but the wake itself seems a…little bit wider,” Reddick said.
Kaulig Racing had a strong showing, too. Justin Haley brought the 31 car home in 3rd, his best finish since he won the rain-shortened Daytona Coke Zero Sugar 400 in 2019.
The end of the race was exciting and controversial. Joey Logano and Byron had a fierce battle early in the run, Byron forcing his way to the lead past Logano.
When Logano caught Byron with two laps to go, he drove into turn three a little harder and pulled off a bump and run that will change the definition of bump and runs. He had his reasons for such a powerful pop to the back of Byron’s car.
“I got fenced 20 laps before. That’s how he got the lead. And, at that point, gloves are off,” Logano said with a big grin and laugh. “If you’re willing to give it, you gotta be willing to take it.”
Byron saw it from a different point of view, saying it’s classic Logano.
“He’s just an idiot…he does this stuff all the time. I’ve seen it with other guys…he drove in there 10 miles an hour too fast,” Byron said.
Logano said being mad helps him drive faster, so in a funny way, Byron’s move earlier probably helped motivate him to this win.
That was Logano’s first win in 2022, making Logano the 10th different winner this season.